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Monday, April 26, 2010

potential future oscar winners

The criteria for this is that only actors/actresses with one previous Oscar nomination or less are eligible (no Peter O'Toole). Also only first time future winners, so no one who has won an Oscar previously. The movies used for justification (minimum 2) will not include the Oscar nominated role. Since it's potential future, trying not to include actors who haven't had a good recent performance (no Steve Martin)

15. Viggo Mortensen

justification : The Road; Appaloosa, A History of Violence;

14.Mathieu Amalric

justification : The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Kings and Queen; Munich; Un Conte de Noel

13. Natalie Portman

justification: V for Vendetta; Brothers; Cold Mountain; garden state

12. Sergi Lopez

justification: dirty pretty things; Pan's labyrinth;Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien

11. Tony Leung Chiu-Wai

justification: Lust, Caution; In the Mood for Love;Internal Affairs; Chungking Express;2046

10. Gael Garcia Bernal

justification : Amores Perros; Y tu mama tambien; The Motorcyle Diaries;

9. Audrey Tautou

justification: Amelie; Coco avant Chanel; Dirty Pretty Things; A very Long Engagement

8. Paul Giamatti

justification: Sideways; American Splendor;Cold Souls

7. Michael Sheen

justification: The Queen; The Damned United; Frost/Nixon

6. Gary Oldman

justification: Sid and Nancy;Dracula;Prick up your Ears; JFK, The Contender

5. Christian Bale

justification : The machinist;American Psycho; 3:10 to Yuma

4. Alan Rickman

justification: Die Hard; Sense and Sensibility; Michael Collins

3. Christopher Plummer

justification: The Sound of Music; The insider; Syriana;

2. Ken Watanabe

justification: Letters from Iwo Jima; Memoirs of a Geisha; Kizuna; Shizumano Taiyo

1. Gerard Depardieu

justification: Bon Voyage; Quand j'eatis chanteur; green Card;

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A list about graphic novels.

Graphic novels are underrated.Mostly because there are a lot of them, most of which aren't that great. So the good ones get lost in the rubble. But the good ones are very good, bordering even on the exceptional. (& I mean by literature standards.). Taking into account only stand-alone graphic novels i.e. written by one author or (one set of authors) only for one (completed) series where characters are not reused by other authors. So as good as Batman : The killing Joke and Daredevil: Born again are , they won't be included.

17.Y: The Last Man .Author -Brian K. Vaughan. Artist -Pia Guerra. released 2002-2008

why: Every male mammal on earth dies except one man and his monkey.A great plot, sharp dialogue and dealing with scientific advancement issues. also full of gender differences issues.


Persepolis . Artist and Author - Marjane Satrapi. released in 2000.

why: About growing up in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. Very clever and witty although at times dark it gives an insight about how character prevails even when it is tried to be repressed.

15. 300. Author and artist - Frank Miller. Released in 1998


why: Everyone's seen the movie by now. Doesn't mean you shouldn't read the comic. Every page is a double page spread of rich colours. As much action in the book as in the movie.

14.David Boring . Author & Artist -Daniel Clowes. released in 2000.

why: A story about a man trying to find the perfect woman with a nuclear apocalypse impending. Full of sardonic humour with plot elements from film noir and Nabokov.

13. Blankets . Author and artist - Craig Thompson. Released in 2003.

why: An autobiographical coming of age novel. About growing up in a strict Evangelical family and first love and early adulthood. Perfectly written in the sense that you can comprehend (and at times relate) everything and get drawn into the remembrance of experiences .

12. Les Adventures de Tintin: L'Ile Noir. Author and artist - Herge. released in 1937-1938, English translation in 1966.

why: It's the best of the Tintin adventures in my opinion. Tintin was great since the 1930's and still popular and a great read even today. Still serialized in newspapers now. Classic adventure stories like this are all too rare these days.

11.Our Cancer Year . Author- Harvey Pekar & Joyce Brabner. Artist- Frank Stack. released 1994.

why: I'm not sure if i can put the whole American Splendor series here but this is representative of it. It tells the story of Pekar's struggle to overcome cancer as well as throwing in social commentary about that year. Filled as usual with Pekar's confrontational style.

10. Ghost World . Writer and Artist - Daniel Clowes. Released 1993-1997

why: A good film was actually made out of this graphic novel. A realistic look at teenage life and relationships, albeit a slightly cynical one. Comparisons can be drawn with The Catcher in the Rye.

9. The Sandman . Author - Neil Gaiman. Artists - Several. Released 1989-1996

why: Winner of the world fantasy award and a NY times bestseller.Several elements of classical mythology are present. As well as character focus on The mythical Sandman is creative yet holds true to the myths.

8.The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol. I&II). author- Alan Moore- Artist - Kevin O'Neill

why: Several major nineteenth century characters from novels appear together in this graphic novel. Henry Jekyll, Captain Nemo , Allan Quatermain and several others join to fight Fu Manchu & the Martians. The most original use of created characters in a long time, if not ever.

7. Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth. Writer and artist - Chris Ware. released in 2000.

why: Several possibly autobiographical elements. A story of relationships with family. Several parallel storylines and flashbacks occur. Jimmy daydreams a lot and his fantasies are his only recreation. The smartest kid one earth may actually be a daydream fantasy of a lonely,dull middle aged man. Great work which explores themes of isolation and depression.

6.V for Vendetta . Author- Alan Moore. Artist- David Lloyd. Released 1982-1989.

why: A story about an anarchist terrorist who lives in a dystopian future. Written in the 80's the parallels to modern life are there for all to see. Several literary themes are present, (V always talks in iambic pentameter). The debate to whether anarchy is preferable to fascism is also looked into.

5.From Hell . Artist - Alan Moore, Author - Eddie Campbell. Released in 1991- 1996.

why: A huge conspiracy theory that follows the Jack the Ripper murders and the possible identity of the killer. Immensely detailed and as much a comic about the Victorian era as Jack the Ripper.

4. Bone . Author and Artist - Jeff Smith. released 1991-2004

why: The funniest adventure story around. You can read it either as a fan of adventure or comedy and be impressed. Very deep characters as well, especially for a comedy.

3. Sin City . Artist and author - Frank Miller. released 1991-2000

why: A nod to the film noir style and hardboiled detectives.Very black and white in the 1940's feel of a detective film which gives a pulp fiction style. Great memorable characters are everywhere in Sin City, each with their own agenda.

2.Maus: A Survivor's Tale . writer and artist : Art Speigelman. Released 1972-1991

why: Winner of a Pulitzer prize. A world war II story about the Holocaust where everyone is presented as anthropomorphic animals. Biographical too, since it's about the author's father. It also deals with the after-effects of the Holocaust for survivors as well as those who didn't experience it. Large portions are on the author's relationship with his father.

1. Watchmen - written by Alan Moore, art by David Gibbons.released 1986-1987

why: Most people know the movie.Which is unfortunate because it isn't a very good movie even if you haven't read the graphic novel.If you have, then you know how far they missed. Watchmen is regularly used in the argument that graphic novels should be considered literature. It's a compelling argument after you've read it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

a list about plays (post 1950)

The general perception is good plays stopped being written. That all the plays being performed which remain popular are classics and there is no place for the playwright in the current dramatic world. The role of the playwright has been diminished but good plays have not become extinct in the 20th and 21st century.This list will attempt to reflect that by giving a selection of excellent plays written (and performed) after 1950.

20.Prelude to a Kiss- Craig Lucas. Premiered in California in 1988.

Quick Description: Thought to be a metaphor for AIDS. A story about the switching of bodies between a new bride and an old man and how the husband must find the old man while keeping his love alive. Something of a Sci-fi style and one of the most original works in recent times.

19. Long Day's Journey Into Night - Eugene O'Neill.premiered in Stockholm at the Royal Dramatic theatre in 1956.

quick summary: A play about addiction and how it affects everyone around the addict.The characters all move in cycles of conflict which only fleetingly break for attempts at real human interaction which are ultimeitely thwarted agin by addiction.

18. Dream on Monkey Mountain - Derek Walcott. Premiered in Trinidad in 1967

quick summary: A local one, where a prison escapee becomes a religious leader. rooted in the customs of the Caribbean and embracing the Caribbean dialect, it is one of the few plays that Caribbean nationals can strongly relate to their own lives.

17.Rhinoceros -Eugene Ionesco .Premiered in Paris in 1959

quick summary: A play where all the inhabitants of a small town turn in to rhinos. A response to the emergence of fascism, communism and Nazism. It explores th importance of culture, morality and philosophy.

16.Arcadia - Tom Stoppard. Premiered in London at the Royal National theatre in 1993.

quick summary: Has several elements of a drama but dialogue of a comedy. An exploration in the evidence of truth about several subjects and how the past is interpreted by scholars.

15. Betrayal- Harold Pinter. Premiered in London at the Royal National theatre in 1978.

quick summary: Features the self absorption the characters in their own self deceptions and their need to save face. The emotions of the characters, as usual in a Pinter play, remained hidden and conflicting.

14. Closer -Patrick Marber. Premiered in London at The Royal National Theatre's Cottesloe Threatre in 1997.

quick description : Most people know about this play from the 2004 movie of the same name. A forceful play which has both modern and post-modern concepts. It addresses the fragmented and illusionary nature of relationships during the 1990's. Also shows how truth is defined by the willingness of a person to relate to it.

13.Doubt: A Parable - John Patrick Shanley .Premiered on Broadway in 2005.

quick summary: A play about (perceived) sexual abuse by clergymen, a very relevant topic currently. What the play really shows is that without actual tangible evidence how importance are perception and certainty and what level of doubt affects judgement.

12.Anna in the Tropics - Nilo Cruz.Premiered in Florida at the New theater in 2003.

quick summary: The changes brought by the new lector in a cigar rolling factory and it's impact on the lives of the workers. Also shows the effect that mechanization had on the lives of such workers and the effect of novels on real life.

11.The Elephant man -Bernard Pomerance. Premiered in New York at Booth Theater in 1979.

Quick Description: A description of the human condition and what makes humanity.The Elephant man is still human even though his features make it hard to discern him from a monster. Shows the importance of mob mentality and perception.

10. The Miracle Worker- William Gibson. premiered in London at the Playhouse Theater in 1957.

quick summary: The early life of Helen Keller and how she learned to read and communicate with the help of her governess. Shows an incredible dynamic between the governess and Keller .

9. Equus- Peter Shaffer.Premiered in London at the Royal National Theatre in 1973.

quick summary: still performed up to 2010. A completely original story of a psychiatrist who has to treat who has a pathological/sexual attraction to horses. Filled with religious themes as well as the conflict between social acceptance and personal wishes.

8.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - Tom Stoppard.Premiered in Edinburgh at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966.

quick description: An absurdist tragicomedy with existential themes. Major themes include the search for value, the impossibility of knowing for certain and the debate between free will vs fate. Art vs. reality also play as major part.

7.Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Tennessee Williams.Premiered in Ney York at the Morosco Theater in 1955.

Quick description: An entire play about lying or mendacity as it is used in the play. An allegory about homosexuality in the Southern US . It also tries to show the decay of Southern culture and the complicated rules of life in the South.

6. A Raisin in the Sun- Lorraine Hansberry. Premiered on Broadway in 1959.

Quick Description: Something most people read for Literature in school. First play written by a black woman to be performed on Broadway. Shows a look into life of an African-American family during the early part of the century as well as the importance of family and one's own home.

5. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? -Edward Franklin Albee. Premiered on Broadway at the Billy Rose Theatre in 1962.

Quick Description: Marriage is horrible. This play makes that evident. Strong arguments and forceful dialogue, hidden as 'games' characterize this play of two couples who spend time together after a dinner party.Both the younger and older couple seem to be buried under problems.

4. A Man for All Seasons - Robert Bolt. premiered in London at the Globe Theater in 1960.

Quick Description : Another work set in the time of Henry VII. Tells the story of Sir Thomas More and how he refused to relinquish his religious principles even under the immense pressure of the king.

3.The Crucible -Arthur Miller. Premiered in New York at The Martin Beck Theatre in 1953.

Quick description: A significant work in the field of American drama. Written as a criticism of McCarthyism for which it uses the Salem witch hunts as an allegory.Regularly studied in schools to this day it ushered in a revolutionary new style of theater in the US and showed the power which drama had in it's ability to challenge the government.

2.Glengarry Glen Ross- David Mamet.Premiered in London at the National Theater in 1982.

Quick Description: A play about real estate agents who are willing to do anything to get their places sold.Including bribe, threaten,lie and burgle. The modern definition of a play that shows how ensemble acting should be done, as well as giving a dark outlook on something as dull as real estate.

1.Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett. Premiered in Paris at Théâtre de Babylone in 1953.

Quick Description : One of the most famous plays of the last century. Because of the simplistic nature of the play (which has 2 acts and only 5 characters) there have been many interpretations of the meaning of the play. While author insisted that it was not an allegory for anything; religious, philosophical, biographical, classical and psychological references have been attributed to it.